FDNY Uses Rope Technique Rescuing Three People During Fire

The New York Fire Department (FDNY) rescued three people hanging from the window of a six-story building after a fire broke out Friday morning in Harlem.

One person, a 27-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the hospital, and 17 others were injured.

Video footage circulated across social media, showing a brave fireman dangling from a rope on the side of the apartment building with one of the victims in his arms as they reached safety. In all, three firefighters aided in the rescue of the three victims.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens called the fire “very challenging” because the blaze broke out on the third story of the six-story building around 2:15 p.m. It quickly overtook the hallways, leaving residents living on the higher floors trapped and unable to reach the staircase.

“While that was going on, we had our engine company moving up to the third floor,” Hodgens stated. “We had heavy fire blowing out into the hallway from the fire apartment. The fire that was blowing out was blocking off the exit pathway of the occupants trying to escape down the stairs.”

He also noted that firefighters found three victims unconscious when they reached the upper floors.

Amar Bhatia, 21, sublets a third-floor apartment next door to the unit where the fire broke out, stating that it “was flaming.” He told the New York Post that he heard his neighbor’s pleas for help.

“People were in the hallway screaming, ‘Help me, help me.’ We couldn’t see anything in the smoke,” Bhatia said. “I couldn’t get to them, I couldn’t help them.”

Bhatia told the Post that he and his roommate had to break through a locked door to reach the fire escape.

“We considered jumping but thank God we got out,” he said.

Probationary firefighter Jason Lopez stated that his team practices rope drills every Monday and Tuesday to be prepared in case.

“We always train like the real thing so when the real thing happens, we know what we’re doing,” said Lopez. He also thanked his colleague who was on the rooftop holding onto the rope, stating “I trust him with my life.”

On Saturday, the FDNY determined that the fire was caused by a lithium-ion battery. Fox 5 NY reported seeing officials pulling e-bikes, along with their batteries out of the building. E-bike batteries have been responsible for an overwhelming amount of fires in the city.

Last year, 267 fires were caused by lithium-ion batteries, claiming the lives of 18 people and injuring 150.